Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Context Awareness is Future of Experience-Driven Design"

Francis Harvey brought this article from Outlook Series to my attention. It describes the keynote address delivered at the Intel Developer Forum on September 16, 2010, delivered by Intel Vice President, Director of Intel Labs, and Intel Chief Technology Officer and Senior Fellow Justin Rattner.

Context awareness covers a wide range of ways that computing devices, including smart phones, can be "aware" of the preferences, needs, and expectations of the device's user. A smart phone "knows" a great deal about its owner/user because it has access to her or his address book, calendar, e-mail, social networking information, pattern of outgoing and ingoing telephone calls, real-time physical location, and more. In the near future, Rattner claims (and demonstrates in a short video) that our smart phones give us directions to the nearest restaurant of the kind we best like and can afford, plus suggest the entree that we'd like best.

The article gives a nod to security and privacy concerns. I've got to say that if I were in charge of U.S. espionage, I'd be working to get these devices into the hands of all sorts of people. Think of the ways access to this kind of information about a person's habits and past behavior would enhance blackmail, intelligence gathering, kidnapping, and assassination.

For the ordinary citizen, the technology might be useful and even attractive. The biggest selling point seems to be that it will save people time - the time it takes to ask the concierge about good restaurants, for example. But my observation has been that the more time I save, the busier I turn out to be; all that free time gets filled up very fast, and not typically with refreshing and rewarding experiences

Besides, I don't want my smart phone to morph into a combination backseat driver and nag.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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